By Linda S. Rubin from Cage & Aviary Nov. 1992

The White-faced-Recessive Silver Cockatiel mutation is a combination of both the Recessive Silver and the White-faced mutation. As White-faced is also recessive in reproduction, we are looking at a double recessive cross mutation. The White-faced factor is responsible for eliminating all yellow and orange lipochrome pigments from the White-faced-Recessive Silver. Therefore any areas which were previously yellow (e.g., such as yellow underwing spots or yellow tail barring) or orange (e.g., the orange cheek patch), is removed or appears white. Although never commented upon, if one looks closely at most White-faced varieties, one may note an inspired ghost-white cast on most hens, where the orange cheek patch would have been. Indeed, most hens show some white markings (e.g., equivalent to their Normal counterparts) on the face, e.g., about the crown, lores, eyes, chin, beak or nares. Adult males would go on to develop the all white face mask of maturity. The overall body colour of the soft silvery-grey of the Recessive Silver could be somewhat altered by the White-faced factor. As the White-faced factor completely eliminates all orange and yellow pigment it could cause a further altering of body tone. The American National Cockatiel Society show standard of excellence states- "Cross or triple mutations will be judged according to each colour standard they represent, then as a combination of both (or all) mutations". Therefore, one should strive for a good representation of both mutations in the one bird. The show standard also states "All split birds will be entered in the section they visually represent". Therefore, the White-faced-Recessive Silver should be entered in the AOV class. The eyes of the Recessive Silver mutation are red, the beak is a light horn and the feet pink.

Differentiated: The Recessive Silver mutation is as its name suggests, recessive in reproduction, and should therefore be differentiated from the Dominant Silver. The Dominant Silver is a newer mutation and is the only mutation in Cockatiels which is dominant in reproduction. The Recessive Silver was one of the first recessive mutations to appear after the Pied. A wide fluctuation appears to exist between individuals of this variety. In the Recessive Silver, the melanin pigment is modified and can appear as a steel or silvery grey, to a fawnish-brown tone. Some individuals have red depigmented eyes, while others may acquire some melanin and therefore appear more brown. As with most other varieties, the male continues to develop the yellow face mask, while the hens carry just a touch or smaller amount of yellow about the face. The original Recessive Silvers of Europe were reported to have had some incidence of blindness which was thought to be genetic. This understandably put a temporary damper on the enthusiasm of American aviculturists, and eventually the variety received some attention from American enthusiasts once the incidence of blindness no longer proved to be a problem. Whether the Recessive Silvers in America were completely cured (as they are now) of the genetic defect, or were a completely separate and spontaneous new strain, is not fully understood. As it was slower to rise in popularity, the Recessive Silver was not worked with or crossed with other mutations in any great numbers until more recently. This may have been wise, as it undoubtedly allowed the opportunity for aviculturists to build vigour and strength among this recessive mutation, by presumably breeding out to larger, healthier stock.

E-Mail: berniehansen@sympatico.ca



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